By Colorado Domestic Violence Criminal Defense Lawyer – Attorney – H. Michael Steinberg
The impact of a domestic violence restraining order cannot be understated – this article attempts to educate you – the Colorado citizen – on the issues pressing on the target of such an order
False allegations of domestic violence are common in divorce, legal separation and child custody cases. The strategy of seeking a permanent restraining order is so commonplace today – it is almost expected as standard warfare.
alcoholism Orders – Take These Orders Very Seriously” width=”150″ height=”150″ />The Consequences of A Colorado Based Allegation Of Domestic Violence Are Widespread
False allegations of domestic have BOTH civil and criminal consequences.
The violation of so called “Protective Orders” in criminal cases often involve incarceration or heavy fines, “no contact” orders entered which may force the alleged perpetrator to vacate the family residence and to have “no contact” with their children.
In Divorce – Dissolution – Child Custody Cases – the “civil” context consequences can be:
A “Presumption” for Custody – If an act of domestic abuse has occurred, the perpetrator may not win physical placement or physical custody.
There May NOT Be A Mediation of Disputes – In the context of such allegations – mediation is often suspended and family law disputes are taken out of the civil system.
No Contact Orders – If an act of domestic abuse has been found have occurred, a Judge will enter a civil restraining order prohibiting the target of the order from contacting the alleged victim directly or indirectly, whether through letters, e-mail, phone calls or messages through third parties. In Colorado – a violation of those restraining provisions, irrespective of who initiated the contact is a criminal violation known as a Violation Of A Protective Order (VPO) which can result in jail.
Eviction From The Family Home – The no contact provisions of a domestic abuse restraining order, will evict the target of the order from the family residence. A “civil assist” may be allowed for the target of the order to have the supervised removal of some personal belongings.
Parenting Time Restrictions – A Colorado domestic abuse restraining order will restrict the target’s contact with his own children. This results in limited or the completed cessation of parenting time or it may compel humiliating “supervised” parenting time.
Anger Management Classes May Be Ordered – A Divorce Court may require the target of a permanent restraining order to take anger management classes or other kinds of therapies as a condition of “normalizing contact” with his or her own children.
A Restriction of Civil Liberties Such As Gun – Second Amendment Rights – The entry of a domestic violence based permanent restraining order is precluded from owning or possessing a firearm for any purpose.
As you can ee – if false allegations of Colorado domestic violence are made, the stakes are very high but getting a permanent restraining order – has never been easier.
Closely Examining And Understanding The Colorado Permanent Restraining Order Process
Although the stakes are high – the actual burden on proving the case in court – that is – the low burden of proof necessary for obtaining a civil restraining order involving allegations of domestic abuse and the fast track methods used to obtain the order itself -are a scandal in Colorado.
The Low Burden Of Proof For Winning A Permanent Restraining Order
The person seeking a Colorado Permanent Restraining Order need only prove their claim by a “preponderance of the evidence.” A “preponderance” means that the petitioner must ONLY PROVE that it is “more likely than not” that the type of abuse alleged occurred.
This is the lowest legal standard of proof in the court system.
Judges will often will issue a permanent restraining order very weak and questionable evidence. They will err on the side of caution because of the fear of unwanted attention to their decision should actual violence follow a decision NOT to issue the order.
No Time To Prepare For The Final – Permanent – Restraining Order Hearing
After the temporary restraining order is issued and served – the permanent restraining order hearing is set within 14 days. There is little or no time to prepare. This is true especially for someone who has never been in court. Crowded court dockets require inexperienced respondents to these hearings little time to prepare a solid and just response to false allegations of abuse.
Unfair Limits On The Court Time Allowed To Conduct The Permanent Restraining Order Hearing
Even when the hearing is held, the judge – often with a dozen hearings to conduct – will limit the introduction of testimony and the evidence to help fit all of the pending cases into the Judge’s busy court schedule. The legal ramifications of the entry of this permanent order may be a lifetime of complications – but the time afforded the defense of false allegations is often less than an hour or two to present the case and since the defendant presents his case after the petitioner presents her case – the time nay be limited even more so.
The Ex Parte Process Imposing A Temporary Order On Little To No Evidence
In Colorado – the issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order – is ex-parte.. that means only the person seeking the temporary restraining order is present in court.
The ex parte restraining order is usually entered with the assistance of a so called “battered woman’s shelter advocate.” Although ex parte relief is supposed to be emergency relief – the allegations made in court are often gross exaggerations or even outright lies. They are singularly one sided without and without testing or rebuttal by the person who is the accused.
As a result of this one sided submission, most judges issue a temporary restraining order that wreaks havoc on the target’s life. It removes him from the family home, ends contact with his children, and compels the setting of a permanent order or final order hearing in two weeks time.
Your Options At The Final – Permanent Restraining Orders Hearing – What The Judge Will Ask You
At the “return hearing,” the judge will call the case – advise you of the issues to be decided and give you the following options:
(1) Agree to the Restraining Order but with no factual findings that abuse has occurred or
(2) Proceed to final – contested evidentiary hearing to defend against the allegations in the temporary order.
(1) In Colorado – unlike many other states – a permanent restraining order is just that – PERMANENT – unless it is later modified by a subsequent court order – and that is VERY difficult.
(2) ANY violation of the restraining order results in a new criminal charges for domestic violence no matter how insignificant the violation. That means mandatory arrest, no bond holds, and can be used in divorce court in later civil proceedings.
If You Can Afford One – Get A Lawyer Experienced In Defending These Cases
Yes it is expensive but so is the impact on your life if you lose. If you cannot afford a good lawyer then contest the allegations in court and present an aggressive defense. Anyone can be the victim of false allegations of domestic violence in Colorado.
The weak laws defining what abuse is – it is what the judge says it is – and the low burden of proof at the hearings and standards of proof set out in Colorado law – place the target of the restraining order at a considerable disadvantage. You must be “aggressively proactive” in fighting the charges – do NOT give up and concede defeat.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: H. Michael Steinberg – Email The Author firstname.lastname@example.org or call his office at 303-627-7777 during business hours – or call his cell if you cannot wait and need his immediate assistance – 720-227-7777.
Helping Clients To Make Informed Decisions In the Defense of Colorado Criminal Cases.